As I’m writing this, we’re approaching the end of a fiscal quarter. Because of that, my team and I have been watching our key metrics and our dashboards to see how close to our plans and budget projections we are. We’re watching the numbers more closely now even though we’ve watched them all quarter long. We’re watching them more closely now to determine which strategies to continue and which strategies to adjust.
“What Gets Measured Gets Done”
This famous quote has been attributed to Peter Drucker, Tom Peters and others. Regardless of who originated it, for many of us, there is merit in its intent. The whole point of creating a strategic plan and the associated metrics is to outline the roadmap you believe will most effectively help you create the type of business you want. So if you’ve taken the time to think about the type of business you want to build, you’ve identified and then documented the specific interconnected actions you believe are needed to move your business forward, why not track those actions and measure their effectiveness? Besides, human beings like feedback. Human beings like to keep score. Creating and tracking plans via your metrics provides feedback and they help you keep score.
What Should We Track?
A common question asked by many of our consulting clients is “What should we be tracking?” I’m not being coy when I reply, “What do you want to accomplish?” To determine what to track, you need to first be clear on what you are trying to accomplish. I recently spoke to a group of human resources professionals. In my presentation I shared with them the need to gather and share data on things such as: Reductions in time from hire date to expected employee productivity due to better on-boarding and new employee orientation; Reductions in negative employee actions after managers attended targeted training; Increases in productivity due to team cross-training; and Decreases in production down-time due to enhanced team problem-solving activities. These types of data are important and interesting to the leadership team. The leadership team isn’t interested in how many employees were successfully processed through open-enrollment. That information doesn’t help them move their initiatives forward and it’s really more of an HR administrative data point anyway. If you’re trying to work more effectively with other managers and leaders, track and share data that is of interest and helpful to them. Measure what will help you accomplish your objectives.
For many businesses, general metrics such as the number and size of projected projects in the pipeline – and – the number and size of projects won are critical because they not only project your revenue and cash flow, but they also project your staffing, materials, and other resources needed to do the work you just won. Track what will help you accomplish what you just won.
What is Working and What is Not?
As you track and focus on metrics such as the number of new clients; the number of repeat clients; what types of clients are repeats; response rate to specific marketing campaigns; sales of new products versus legacy products; project completions on-time; project completions within budget; and increases or decreases in income and expenses; you start to get a sense of what’s working with your various business, client and staffing decisions, and what isn’t. It becomes easier to decide what to continue and what to adjust. Start tracking!
This article was originally published on Liz’s website, and is reprinted with permission.